The Menu: Mouth-watering festivals

Poor Neidín barely gets a chance to wolf down his oats this weather before The Menu has him back in harness and out and about on the high roads for all the autumnal food festivals.

And if The Menu squeezes in visits to the tail-end of the wonderful Waterford Harvest Festival AND the Clarenbridge Oyster Festival, in Galway, both ending this weekend, then the bould Neidín has to be worth an each-way punt at Leopardstown one of these fine days.

But for those of you without a Neidín to hand yet still labouring under an enormous hankering for a celebration of that amatory bi-valve, the oyster, then here’s ample warning of the upcoming Galway Oyster and Seafood Festival (Sept 28-30) with its internationally renowned Oyster Opening competition and a Gala Mardi Gras night which sounds positively splendiferous featuring a masked ball careening through the streets of Galway in search of seafood, sounds and more seafood!


While one half of the country is taken up with cooking, consuming and conversing about food, it seems the other half has taken to writing about it.

And if you fancy you have the chops to become a food writer, it’s not too late to hightail it to the lovely Brooklodge, Macreddin, Co Wicklow, for a Food Writing Workshop on Sept 21/22 with internationally renowned food writer Dianne Jacob whose book Will Write for Food has been called “mandatory reading for everyone who aspires to be a food writer” by

Alongside tuition in recipe writing, cookbook publishing and food blogging will be a very special Big Table Dinner Experience at The Strawberry Tree Restaurant.


Afficionados of Cork’s English Market will know well the key role played by Isabelle Sheridan and her On The Pig’s Back deli counter in cementing the current renown of those hallowed epicurean halls, but The Menu would hazard more than a few locals have yet to discover the sister-ship, in St Patrick’s Woollen Mills, in Douglas, a delightful little café/ deli fronting the premises where Isabelle’s legendary pates and terrines are produced along with a cornucopia of stunning Irish and French produce on sale. From Sept 20 and right through October, the Douglas location plays host to Cork-based Spanish Musician/Artist Antonio Bernal and his first watercolour exhibition, The Man in the Hat.

Today’s Special

Of late, The Menu has been laying into more cold meat than Rocky training in the walk-in freezer as he has taken quite a shine to Harty’s Ginger Hot Pepper Jelly, a crisp sweet condiment with a tidy little chilli zing, which Melanie Harty advocates as a fine accompaniment to all manner of cold meats and charcuterie. And she’s not far wrong!

But when The Menu began grilling some of Anna Leveque’s Triskel Goat’s Cheese with Jelly bubbling away on top, he opened a most toothsome Pandora’s lunchbox indeed!

Contact Joe McNamee at


Theakston’s Old Peculier 5.6% ABV 500ml €2.42 at Tesco.

Even in the midst of Oktoberfest, beer fans are well advised to look east, to England, and take inspiration from the survival there of the beery heritage we share around these islands.

In the wake of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) I and my generation tried out a slew of strong drinks with funny names — chief among them this, the headline beer of the 195-year-old Yorkshire brewery still owned by the Theakston family — and discovered among them a world of flavour.

It’s a biggie, rich, deep and intense, an aromatic Christmas cake of a beer. Also available at good independent off-licences.

By Blake Creedon

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